University of Lugano - USI


USI is Switzerland’s most international university. It is distinctive in the Swiss university system because of the originality of its degree curricula and areas of research. Its relatively contained size and numbers assure direct interaction between the members of the academic community. The result is a collegiate, dynamic, and multicultural atmosphere, a powerful magnet for motivated students and talented researchers.

USI is a dynamic, young university that is not satisfied in limiting its work to consolidate its achievements, but has resolved to take up the gauntlet of finding new ways of enhancing its attractiveness and of raising its profile on both the Swiss and international level.

The USI Università della Svizzera italiana is a multi-lingual university with a strong international orientation. Its faculty and students come from at least 100 different countries. USI was also among the first universities in Switzerland to adopt the new European university structure (called "Bologna declaration" or "3+2"), encouraging students' mobility across European campuses. Courses are mainly taught in Italian and English. USI also continuously introduces innovative and effective teaching methods, such as the "dual language system", thus reinforcing its international character and its role of academic bridge between Italy and the rest of Switzerland.

The Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) was founded in 1996, although the original concept dates back several decades. It was in fact at the beginning of the 19th century when the first proposal for an institution of higher education was mooted, addressing the aspirations of the Italian-speaking culture of Switzerland. In 1803, Ticino acquired sovereign status as a Canton of the Swiss Confederation. Carrying out the project of a university, however, required stronger demographic and economic resources that the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland could afford at the time.

  • Year established
  • Registered students

Academic specialism

In 2004, USI Università della Svizzera italiana adopted the European system of Bologna, which structures university studies into a three-years Bachelor degree, followed by a two-years specialized Master programme.


USI offers to students who graduated from high school four Bachelor programmes: Architecture (in Mendrisio), Economics, Communication Sciences and Informatics (in Lugano). Bachelor program last three years and provide ample, solid theoretical foundations in the chosen field. Ateliers and laboratories allow students to apply the acquired knowledge through practical activities, under the close supervision of faculty members. After the first year(s), students usually select a more definite direction for their studies, choosing among a number of elective courses which delve deeply into specific areas. Bachelor courses are mainly taught in Italian. USI Bachelor programmes prepare students for successful professional careers in the field of interest, or for continuing their education with a Master programme.


Students who hold a USI Bachelor degree (or a comparable degree from another University) can access one of the many Master programmes offered at USI. Master programs last two years and provide highly specialized education and training in a specific area. Top-level faculty, collaborating with prestigious local and international institutions, prepare graduate students for high-level professional careers in specialized fields, or for a future in academic research. Some Masters programs are taught in Italian, others in English.


Master's graduates who wish to pursue a career in academic or professional research may continue their education with a PhD at USI. Doctoral programmes last a minimum of three years and may require attendance of courses. The final PhD dissertation proves the candidate’s significant contribution to the chosen field of research.

University of Lugano - USI
Via Giuseppe Buffi 13, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland
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+41 58 666 40 00

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USI Università della Svizzera italiana has 2 campuses: one in Lugano, for the Faculties of Economics, Communication Sciences, and Informatics, and the other in Mendrisio (15 km South, closer to the Italian border), for the Academy of Architecture.